The Northern Edge girls' hockey team merged with Lakeland/Tomahawk co-op over the off-season and will be their first season together on the ice. Tom Roeser will remain the head coach of Northern Edge and is optimistic about the upcoming season and what the increased numbers and how it will impact their program. Rhinelander will be the host town but their practices will be held in all four towns.
For Northern Edges' first practice that was held at the Rhinelander Ice Arena there were around 20 skaters present. With the two co-ops teams merging it gives the team the opportunity to be more competitive not only in practices but in games and will provide more depth and battling for positions. Each primary high school in the co-op will also have one coach representative. Roeser will be Rhinelander's, Kelly LeVeque will be Antigos, and Rae Grosman while be Lakeland's.
Combined, the team has 23 total skaters listed on their roster from five different schools with the majority of the player coming from Antigo, Lakeland, and Rhinelander. Northern Edge will now have two all-conference goalies because of the merge, senior Alicia Turunen (Rhinelander), and junior Anna Maulson (Lakeland). Turunen earned unanimous first team all-GNC with a 3.88 goals against average and a .914 save percentage. Maulson was honorable mention in the GNC with a 3.61 goals against average and .895 save percentage.
But looking ahead to the 2019-2020 season both Turunen and Maulson will likely see less shots in their direction due to their solid defense this bring in. Turunen averaged just over 41 saves per contest while Maulson averaged just under 28 per game. Two Antigo juniors will anchor the Northern Edges’ defense; Emily Kassler and Evie LeVeque. Joining Kassler and LeVeque on the blue line will be a pair of Lakeland freshman; Caitlyn Fesnick and Maria Gironella.
Rhinelander senior Madi Losch, who was unanimous first team-all conference defender last season will transition to forward this year. Losch was also Northern Edges' top scorer two seasons ago, where she recorded 17 goals and also added 13 goals a season ago, and only needs to more goals for be fourth in all-time scoring.
Along with Losch, Lakeland will return junior forwards Katie Vizanko and Isabelle Boyer. Vizanko earned honorable mention in the conference last season with 9 goals and 11 assists in the GNC. While Boyer was fourth in the GNC in individual scoring last season with 19 points including 9 goals, 10 assists. Also scoring last year returning will be Taylee Tucker, Lauren Kefalinos, and Ashley Albee. A number of freshman will also be in the mix including Maddi Roeser, Kassidee Linssen, and Wyndi Saari.
Last season Lakeland/Tomahawk co-op finished 5-3 in the GNC and 7-14 overall, while Northern Edge went 4-5 in conference play and 5-12 overall. Lakeland/Tomahawk also averaged the most goals per contest, edging Northland Pines by just over one goal. Lakeland was second in goals allowed last season just behind the Eagles at 1.8 per contest.
With having no Great Northern Conference for girls' hockey this season, Northern Edge will defiantly have a tough schedule to fill. They will still play previous GNC rivals Medford and Northland Pines but will have to travel to take on teams such as Brookfield, Cedarburg, Green Bay East, Marquette (MI), and Houghton-Hancock (MI).
With the added depth to the their 2019-2020 roster, Northern Edge is looking to finish above 500 as well as be competitive throughout playoffs. The Edge will be in the seven-team sectional which includes a number of large co-ops including Central Wisconsin, Wisconsin Valley, Fox Cities, and Bay Area and will also include Northland Pines and Medford.
Northern Edge will open their season on Tuesday when they travel to Merrill (MARC) to take on Central Wisconsin Storm at 7:00PM. The Edge will have their home opener on Saturday December, 7th when they host Arrowhead at the Rhinelander Ice Arena.